By Tim Leeds
Montana State University-Northern's homecoming week starts tonight with NFL legends meeting their pheasant-hunting partners at Chancellor Alex Capdeville's house.
The rest of the week is filled with hunting, socials, reunions and Native American dancing. And, of course, athletic competition.
Tom Reynolds, director of the MSU-Northern Foundation, said NFL players began arriving over the weekend to participate in the Legends for Lights Pheasant Jamboree, a fund-raiser for local groups including the MSU-Northern Lights football team.
The Legends for Lights activities are a main part of the events of the week, with opportunities for people to meet and socialize with about 20 NFL players, with college games, meets and alumni activities mixed in.
"It's a week of celebration," Reynolds said. "We encourage the community to make this a weeklong event."
The NFL players will team with local people to compete in a pheasant hunt Thursday. Reynolds said there will be three locals with three NFL players on each team. A local hunter with a dog, a host to provide transportation and a landowner will be on each team.
Homecoming events for the general public begin Tuesday, with a open shoot from 10 a.m. to noon at the trap club east of the softball complex. A shooting clinic and demonstration, with a taco cart providing lunch, follows with a trap shoot competition starting at 4 p.m.
The foundation raffled off a dinner for eight with the NFL hunting teams on a Burlington Northern Santa Fe special train Tuesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
People have a chance to meet the NFL legends at a cocktail with hors d'oeuvres at the Duck Inn Olympic Room at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Boys and Girls Club of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation will provide Native American dancing, and Rodney SunChild will give a traditional Native American blessing of the hunt.
A pep rally starts at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the Student Union Building lawn, with a barbecue and contests for the students.
A community barbecue at the Ice Dome, with state Sen. Mike Taylor's rendition of "Bully" afterwards, follows an open hunt Wednesday. The barbecue starts at 5 p.m. and Taylor's rendition President Teddy Roosevelt starts at 7:30.
The price for the barbecue, including the production of "Bully," is $10. Reynolds said seeing Taylor's performance alone is well worth the price.
The athletics begin Wednesday as well, with the MSU-Northern volleyball players facing the University of Great Falls team at 7 p.m. in the university gymnasium.
The hunting contest will run up and down the Hi-Line Thursday. The awards, for the longest spur and tail feather, will be during the Pheasants Forever banquet and auction at the Ice Dome at 6 p.m.
The Lights basketball team faces Lethbrige Community College's team at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the university gymnasium.
The '70s Northern Alumni reunion starts Friday, with a game pitting the alumni against the Northern team at 6 p.m.
The Lights wrestling team, coming back from its third straight NAIA national championship last year, faces the University of Calgary team at 8 p.m. Students and supporters of the university's athletics will gather at a bonfire following the meet in the large southwest parking lot.
The Lights football team faces off against Montana Tech's team Saturday. The game will be preceded by a homecoming brunch for the community at the SUB from 9 to 11 a.m. It costs $10. A tailgate party at the SUB lawn immediately follows the brunch, leading up to the game at 1 p.m.
The Alumni Association is holding a post-game feed for $5 with a no-host bar at Donaldson Commons.
The '70s reunion continues Saturday, with three games pitting the alumni against the Lights in wrestling and men's and women's basketball. The wrestling meet starts at 4 p.m., the women's basketball at 6 p.m. and the men's basketball at 8 p.m.
For more information or to buy advance tickets, call the MSU-Northern Foundation at 265-3711.